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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-18-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, September 18, 1919:

Gamblers Hurting Big Leagues

The alleged scandals involving certain baseball players and probably engendered by the vicious gambling which has been allowed in big league ball parks this year, took a wild and ridiculous trend yesterday when some person, probably a gambler, brought Al Mamaux’ name into the discussion.

Mamaux was primed to work against [Pittsburgh] yesterday, but Manager Robinson decided to switch to a lefthander…Somebody voiced the silly remark that Mamaux was to “throw” the game in the sixth inning, if he had worked. If the “tip” were not an injustice to the pitcher’s name it would be funny. In the first place Mamaux would not attempt such an action for financial remuneration and in the second place it is quite a trick to “throw” a game without other members of the team and the public being “wise.”

Public gambling has reached an acute stage in baseball. The habit cannot harm the purity of the great game, but it may work injury to its professional aspects if it is not curbed.

Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about gambling. It can’t hurt the purity of our game. (Weirdly, there’s a cartoon about Eddie Cicotte immediately above the linked article.)

With regard to Mamaux, it would be weird if he were a dishonest player. His parents were millionaires, so I can’t imagine he’d need to sell his self-respect for a few bucks. Maybe he did it, but I sure don’t see a motive.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 18, 2019 at 10:18 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 18, 2019 at 10:23 AM (#5880356)
A heck of an infield on today's Birthday Team.

Dietz is the only one of the four who isn't at least HoVG, but he was a terrific hitter. The only problem was that he played before the designated hitter rule and had the defensive prowess of a blindfolded Bobby Bonilla superglued to a folding chair. Most of his attempts at defense were behind the plate, but the Braves gave him a few dozen chances to amuse everyone as a first baseman in '73.

C: Mitch Meluskey (1.9 WAR)
1B: Dick Dietz (12.6 WAR)
2B/Manager: Ryne Sandberg (68.0 WAR)
3B: Heinie Groh (48.2 WAR)
SS: Sam Bankhead (Negro Leagues great)
LF: Jody Gerut (7.2 WAR)
CF: Tony Scott (4.4 WAR)
RF: Max Marshall (0.3 WAR)

SP: George Uhle (55.6 WAR)
SP: Harvey Haddix (33.2 WAR)
SP: Ken Brett (16.3 WAR)
SP: Chris Holt (3.5 WAR)
SP: Tommy de la Cruz (2.2 WAR)
RP: Scott Holman (1.7 WAR)

Owner: Steve O'Neill
Umpire: Lord Byron
Broadcaster: Lorn Brown
None of those ones: Dan Murphy
Greatest Afghan-born ballplayer of all-time: Jeff Bronkey (-0.2 WAR)
   2. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5880358)
Here's the OPS+ of the 10 Yankees listed in BR as starters:

120
134
135
133
140
128
115
136
123

Is this the most consistent starting lineup in baseball history?
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5880360)
Is this the most consistent starting lineup in baseball history?

That's pretty crazy, but it is really hard to define the 9 starters for the Yankees this year. Only 3 guys have >500 PA, and 13 have >197.
   4. salvomania Posted: September 18, 2019 at 10:43 AM (#5880363)
Weirdly, there’s a cartoon about Eddie Cicotte immediately above the linked article

I like the sign outside the "Has-Been Club" with the names of Christy Mathewson, Nap Lajoie, Honus Wagner, etc.; "Has-Been" seems like an odd moniker to attach to those guys but I guess at some point they were in fact has-beens.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5880364)
I mean, they certainly had been.
   6. salvomania Posted: September 18, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5880375)
Dietz is the only one of the four who isn't at least HoVG

Dietz got a late start---he was 26 before he he became a semi-regular with the Giants, and 28 before he was finally a fixture in the lineup.

His age-28 season in 1970 was one of the better offensive seasons by a catcher in that era---from 1965 to 1975 only five catcher seasons exceeded Dietz's total of 6.5 offensive WAR, and of those five only Carlton Fisk (7.3 oWAR) was playing exclusively as a catcher (the others made between 19 and 37 starts at other positions).

Dietz followed up 1970 with a another solid season for the NL West Champion Giants---by oWAR, the 16th-best offensive season by a catcher in that era---but led the league in passed balls for the second straight year and had a dismal caught-stealing rate in an era in which steals were becoming a greater weapon.

Dietz was the Giants' player rep, and after the 1972 pre-season work stoppage he was hung out to dry by the Giants, as immediately before the season's delayed start he was put on waivers.

This was the starting catcher for a division winner, who'd just put up a 3.8 bWAR season in spite of his defensive shortcomings; It was those defensive shortcomings---as opposed to any hard feelings from the labor strife---that the Giants used to justify his being waived.

He was picked up by the Dodgers as a backup, starting only 15 games before breaking his wrist and missing the rest of the season.

Dietz was picked up the Braves immediately before the 1973 season, and as a mostly backup 1B/PH (he did start 12 games at catcher), he put up stellar numbers: .295/.474/.432, in 191 PA.

Like his contemporary Gene Tenace, Dietz had phenomenal walk rates---he had 109 walks (18%) in that 1970 season, and 49 (more than 25%) in that last 1973 season---but unlike Tenace, Dietz was not able to extend his career as a complementary 1B/C/PH role player, with nobody picking him up for 1974 despite his still-potent offensive profile.

I have to wonder how Dietz's career would have played out had the Giants not waived him before 1972; he probably wouldn't have broken his wrist, and the Giants probably wouldn't have plummeted from 90 to 69 wins as the Dave Rader era began (2.4 total bWAR as the starting C from 1972-74). Of course, their trading Gaylord Perry (who'd go on to win 24 games and a Cy Young Award with the Indians) for a washed-up Sam McDowell didn't help, either.



   7. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 18, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5880379)
SP: George Uhle (55.6 WAR)
SP: Harvey Haddix (33.2 WAR)
SP: Ken Brett (16.3 WAR)


That's got to be the best hitting pitching rotation on any birthday team that doesn't have Babe Ruth or Martin Dihigo.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5880380)
His age-28 season in 1970 was one of the better offensive seasons by a catcher in that era---from 1965 to 1975 only five catcher seasons exceeded Dietz's total of 6.5 offensive WAR, and of those five only Carlton Fisk (7.3 oWAR) was playing exclusively as a catcher (the others made between 19 and 37 starts at other positions).

HTF did 6.5 oWAR translate into 4.5 WAR for a C? -20 Rfield?!?! Is that even possible at C?
   9. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 18, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5880383)
Dietz had -2.9 dWAR, which is very hard to do as a catcher. Only 13 catchers with 500 or more games played had negative dWAR, and Dietz has the second lowest ever. Frankie Hayes has -3.5, but in twice as many games.
   10. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 18, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5880384)
HTF did 6.5 oWAR translate into 4.5 WAR for a C? -20 Rfield?!?! Is that even possible at C?


It's possible, but I'm not sure it's legal.
   11. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: September 18, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5880390)
First basemen who were born September 18 are in short supply for some reason. If you reject Dietz for having really been a catcher and want someone who played at least half their career at first, I guess you'd have to go with this guy, who played all of 40 games in the majors, 26 of them at 1B. In the 19th century. And batted .197.
   12. Sweatpants Posted: September 18, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5880399)
Dietz's defensive numbers in 1970 (the -20 season) are awful.

- 25 passed balls (most in the majors)
- 63 wild pitches allowed, even though the Giants didn't have a knuckleballer (second in the majors, but 20 ahead of third place)
- 14 errors (second in the majors)
- 92 stolen bases allowed (second place had 59)
- 21 runners caught stealing (20th in the majors), for 19% of runners caught stealing (worst percentage of any regular, and baseball was at 33% overall)

Some of these numbers are partially the result of his catching a lot of games, but he just didn't seem to do anything well back there. Maybe he was a good pitch-framer.
   13. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 18, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5880404)
Mitch Meluskey, who displaced Dietz as the catcher in today's birthday team, was sort of a poor man's Dick Dietz. He hit .300/.401/.487 in his only season as a regular, but people ragged on his defense, and then he got hurt.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5880405)
Dietz and Meluskey sound like kindred spirits.
   15. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: September 18, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5880414)
I don't know where the tipping point is where a defense gets so bad that the guy is unplayable, but based solely on watching the Crew I do believe it is not that far because #### the ball finds these guys. And if a guy is a bad catcher by game design the ball finds him every play so having a bad defender there seems like a guarantee to get ###### almost every game.

I don't know how long a team can handle fighting uphill pretty much all the time. Seems really exhausting.
   16. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 18, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5880425)
Meluskey was, afaict, a better fielder than Dietz by a fair margin. He kept the ball in front of him that one big league season, the arm was more below average than terrible - etc...
Injuries tho: he only played 37 more game in the bigs or affiliated minors after that 2000 season. Plus, if memory serves (it might not), his clubhouse rep was poor and he was considered a bad framer.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5880443)
Plus, if memory serves (it might not), his clubhouse rep was poor
I seem to remember him getting into a fistfight with a veteran player. Of course, he might have been a young punk, or the veteran might have been a redass "know your place, rook" type.
   18. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 18, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5880450)
Meluskey punched Matt Mieske during batting practice. The linked article says that Meluskey showed up late for batting practice and jumped into the batting cage ahead of Mieske, which doesn't seem like a great move.
   19. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: September 18, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5880471)

Dietz was picked up the Braves immediately before the 1973 season, and as a mostly backup 1B/PH (he did start 12 games at catcher), he put up stellar numbers: .295/.474/.432, in 191 PA.


Dietz was the starting 1B for Atlanta in this game, hitting a 7th inning 2-run homer off Jerry Koosman -- all the runs scored in the game, in fact, and the first of 3 HR Dietz would hit all year -- as Ron Schueler crafted a no-hitter through 8 IP, broken up by a leadoff single from Ron Hodges.

This was the first game I ever attended and a mere 2 days before "Ya Gotta Believe!" entered Metsian lexicon & lore.
   20. manchestermets Posted: September 18, 2019 at 03:21 PM (#5880481)
Before today's game Michael Conforto was hitting .252/.354/.482 for the year. His career line is .251/.350/.478. Is anyone having a more typical year?
   21. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: September 18, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5880483)
Before today's game Michael Conforto was hitting .252/.354/.482 for the year. His career line is .251/.350/.478. Is anyone having a more typical year?


Other than it being his first 30-HR season, yeah, I getcha.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: September 18, 2019 at 05:51 PM (#5880545)
Speaking of typical years, unless he hits about .600 over the next 10 days, Khris Davis will not hit .247 this year.

Also Mitchy Two-Bags in Boston - OBPs .326, .325, .326 - AVGs .246, .245, 244

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